Hades (Switch): COMPLETED!

I thought I’d actually completed this about a month ago, except it seems that just reaching the end isn’t enough. You have to reach the end ten times. Anyway, I’ve done that now.

Hades is a roguelite action game, where you, as Zagreus, Hades’ son, must escape from hell and find your mother on the surface. You die a lot along the way, which takes you back to the start, but slowly your skills improve both by getting permanent buffs and by just getting better at the game, so gradually you get closer and closer to the end.

Each “room” is a short fight, after which you get an item. These range from a choice of Boons, provided by Olympians, which offer skills such as elemental attacks or additional dashes, to money (which can only be spent that “run” on temporary upgrades) and gems (which can be spent in your bedroom between runs for permanent upgrades). Success on a run is largely down to your choices as well as a little luck as to which you’re offered, since some upgrades stack really well and others are mostly useless – your fighting style dependant, of course.

You also get a choice of different weapons to take with you – a sword, a bow, enchanted gauntlets, what is essentially a gun, etc. – but I mostly stuck to the sword as I found it easiest. Some Boons are better suited to different weapons too.

It’s an addictive game, and even though each run can easily be half and hour or more long the urge for “one more run” is strong. If you fail, it’s rarely a waste because of what you gain, but also you feel that you’d get a bit further if you just had better luck. There’s a lot of interesting and humorous dialogue between Zagreus and the other residents of the various levels of hell, with much reference to Greek mythology, and almost every run provides new chat with very little repetition.

I “beat” my first run on about the 18th attempt, but it was nearly 50 tries before I’d beaten it the requisite ten times, with something like 40 hours play in total. I regret sleeping on buying this earlier, which I’d done because although I’d loved Bastion (by the same devs), Transistor which followed it left me cold and I was put off this being a “difficult roguelite”. Thankfully, it’s nothing like Transistor and also isn’t that difficult, or at least, not difficult indefinitely. It’s truly a fantastic game.